“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves”


So said Edmund Hillary after summiting the world’s highest mountain, Everest, alongside Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. That quote, repeated countless times by many, speaks to the importance of overcoming fear through facing challenges, a sentiment embodied in the life-changing work of Hillary Outdoors.    

Founded in 1972 by Sir Graeme Dingle with Edmund Hillary as patron, Hillary Outdoors supports a diverse cross-section of Aotearoa’s youth to both enhance and improve their lives through participation in outdoor pursuits. So it made sense to our company that when we began looking for partnerships to help build on Ed’s philanthropic legacy, that Hillary Outdoors was a natural fit.

That’s why last month, we funded a group of iwi rangatahi and young people from the Ngātiwai o Aotea Kawa Marae to be part of the Hillary Outdoors Kotahitangi scholarship programme. Alongside the funds, we also gifted each of the youth with an Edmund Hillary tee and New Zealand merino beanie. Plus, the youth were joined by Hillary Outdoors’ new Youth Patron and programme ambassador Alexander Hillary, Ed’s grandson.

“We’re extremely proud to see one of our own, Alexander Hillary, teaching this valuable course at Hillary Outdoors,” says Edmund Hillary Marketing Director Clare Hall-Taylor.

 “Alexander has grown up with adventure and the outdoors in his veins and we can’t think of anyone better to help inspire a new generation of Kiwi adventurers, while bringing the family name back into this fantastic organisation.”

Clare says our company was created with philanthropy sewn into its seams, with proceeds from the sale of every garment going towards supporting causes close to Ed's heart, particularly outdoor education initiatives such as Hillary Outdoors.


“Enabling children to experience outdoor education is at the heart of what we believe in and we were delighted to be part of helping eight rangatahi be part of Hillary Outdoors’ life-changing Kotahitangi scholarship programme on Great Barrier Island.


“We were thrilled to learn that these kids took on the new challenges and experiences through the programme with determination and resilience. The lessons they’ve learnt will, no doubt, be with them for life – and, we hope, will particularly be helpful for them as we settle back into lockdown life.”

Lessons like hiking the Orama Stream, a powerful day adventure where students were tied together with a rope and had to tramp up the stream together through cold water and rainy conditions. Along the way, the team must climb through small water holes and sections to bolder. The journey also involves a 6m abseil down a waterfall.

 “It was incredible to see how they persisted and helped each other,” says Hillary Campbell, Hillary Outdoors’ Chief Executive.

“These students chose to journey the Orama Stream to be able to explore the forest and discover more of their own back yard and each other’s strengths.”

Aotea Family Support Group’s Youth Navigator Programme Co-ordinator agrees, saying the rangatahi who participated “learnt a lot about their ability to step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves”.


“The look of satisfaction and self-pride on their faces after completing something they may have imagined was beyond them was priceless. Their excitement and reflection was captured ‘thru their lens’ on camera providing them with a wonderful way to share their experiences with their whanau and friends and a reminder for themselves of this special time.

“For many of the families on our motu, it is very hard to even consider finding the funds to send their children to such a camp. A sad reality, that our island rangatahi are unable to take advantage of having such an amazing resource even though it is on their doorstep.”

We hope Ed would have loved to see the smiles on these kids’ faces. We certainly did. And as Ed put it, “people do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.” Thank you to Hillary Outdoors for giving these kids the chance to accomplish extraordinary things.